Awe heck…. We’re talking about the scale

NON SCale victories

The tool created to weigh an object and provide a measurement of mass. That is the sole purpose of a scale. So why, OH WHY, does the scale get treated like it holds more power than a genie lamp?

 

The scale has the ability to determine if today is going to be a good day or a bad based on the numbers populated.  It has the ability to impact one’s mood. It has the ability to tie numbers to one’s self worth.

 

Remember y’all, it is a scale.  It is a tool. So is this an evil tool or do we give the scale more power then it was ever meant to have?

 

I believe the answer to this question can easily be answered by asking, how often do you weigh yourself.  Daily? Twice a day? Once a week? If the answer is yes, dare I say you are giving the scale, more power than it deserves.

 

If weight loss is the goal, it would be wise to weigh in on the scale and record those numbers as a starting point.  Now when it is wise to weigh again? I can tell you, it isn’t the next day! Small things like eating higher sodium causing water retention, or not having used the bathroom all affect the scale. So weighing daily is not an accurate measurement. Stay off the scale for 3-4 weeks. I can almost hear the gasps.  Again, if weight loss is the goal and both nutrition and workouts are consistent, the scale will trend downward and 3-4 weeks is enough time to allow your body to adapt to these changes and see the scale reflect that.

 

A direct correlation of eating better will be feeling better!  Therefore success can also be measured simply by your clothes fitting better, having more energy, moving faster and lifting heavier.  All of these have nothing to do with the scale and yet are great tools for measuring progress! Personally, mile splits and deadlift PRs are numbers I care about way more than the number on the scale.

 

Listen to me, you do NOT have to obsess daily over the scale.  You do not need to exhale, lean, stand on one foot, get naked, remove your earrings every day to get the scale to budge.  I hope you’re laughing reading this ridiculousness, especially if this depiction was you just this morning.

 

Respect the scale, but respect yourself more.  Take ownership of the numbers, but do not let your self worth be tied to directly to the digits.

 

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14

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Awe heck…. We’re talking about the scale

The Big Three

….and I’m not talking squat, bench and deadlift.

Big Three

93 million US adults are are obese, according to the CDC. Being
obese doesn’t just mean that you’re overweight, it means you are at risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and the list goes on. Despite this startling truth, obesity is STILL on rise.
I think there are several reasons people struggle with getting healthier. Some of those being: time, money, and lack of knowledge. I want to give you three practical ways to start working on your health right now. Three ways that do not include a gym membership that you will probably only use a handful of times, a “plan” from some online coach, a “cleanse” that will have you making frequent trips to the bathroom, or a crazy diet that doesn’t allow you to eat whole grains but encourages you to put butter in your coffee and eat bacon by the fist-fulls. These 3 things are simple, effective, and you can start doing them RIGHT NOW. Not Monday, not next week, not next year. Today.
Numero uno is something you’ve already been told. Over, and over, and over again.
Hydrate. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Some side effects of this are fatigue, foggy memory, irritability, headaches, and more. I will personally guarantee that once you are properly hydrated you will feel the difference and you will love it. Here are some quick guidelines to get hydrated.
● Start by trying to get in half of your weight in ounces every day. If you weigh 120
pounds, drink 60 ounces of water daily; this is about 4 bottles. The more, the merrier.
● Use a straw. This sounds silly, but if you have a big tumbler with a straw, you will drink more.
● Get bored with water? Get yourself a some water drops. You can get sugar free
ones that are naturally sweetened at the grocery store. Or try some carbonation,
Pellegrino is my favorite (plus it makes you feel fancy!)
This next tip is going to blow your mind….MOVE. Move your body more. I’m not telling
you to go get a gym membership, or find some “6 moves to get a 6 pack” off Pinterest. I am telling you to move your body. Did you know that a sedentary lifestyle can have just as much of a toll on your mental health as it does your physical? Studies have shown that those with a sedentary lifestyle are at a greater risk for depression. Our bodies are made to move and not moving can literally make you sad. Here are some ways to get moving!
● Take your dog for a walk.
● Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
● Park further away at the grocery store (or any store).
● Take the long way to get to the bathroom at work.
● Go for a walk on your lunch break.
● Taking time to stand up and stretch while at work (maybe even get a desk that
you can adjust to stand at!)

 

You are probably wondering at what point am I going to tell you to eat “clean”, right?

Well here is a shocker, I’m not. In regards to your diet, I am not going to tell you to cut out entire food groups, to drink a kale smoothie every day, or sell you on any products. I believe OVEREATING is the biggest problem that most people face. We live in the era of “super size,” “big gulp,” and “do you want fries with that?” Fast food companies aren’t the only culprit for our over eating, though. The average dinner plate size was 7 to 9 inches just a couple decades ago, now it is 11 to 12 inches! One donut didn’t make you fat, one piece of pizza didn’t make you fat; however, all of these things in excess will. Losing weight is a simple equation of ‘calories in’ vs ‘calories out.’ When we eat calorie dense food in high volume, we have slim-to-no chance of burning all of these calories; thus leading to weight gain. Your first step in trying to get your nutrition under control is to pay attention to your portion sizes. Here are some easy ways to do this:
● Read the label. Often when we grab a candy bar or a bag of chips that we
think is a “single serving” it can actually be 2-3 servings! These
companies are getting tricky and making us think “oh, 150 calories a
serving, that’s not bad!” when in reality that bag of chips is 3 servings!!
● Measure your food. Yes, I know off the top of my head that I can have 2
Oreo’s for 140 calories, or 13 Cherry Twizzler Bites for 110 calories.
● Count out a serving and then put the rest back in the pantry. If you sit there with
your hand in the bag, you will overeat and you won’t even notice how
much you’ve had!
● Buy single serving packs. I enjoy buying things that are already sold as a
single serving, that way I can grab and go and know that I am not
overeating.
● Use a smaller plate! This way the appropriate portion will look like a
decent size unlike if you put it on our “dinner plates” that are about the
size of a serving platter.
● Don’t feel guilty. If you want a cookie, have the cookie and then move on!
Don’t restrict yourself until you get to the point of binging and you end up
eating a whole pack of cookies!
So now you know, hydrating, moving, and watching your portions are the three take aways here. Our body desperately needs water, so drink up! Yes, you will have to pee 20 times a day. But that’s good, because as we also discussed, you need to move more and that just means more trips to the bathroom! As for your food, remember to “enjoy it, don’t avoid it.” Have a single portion of your favorite treat and then move on. These things cost you no money, no extra time, and I’ve now given you the knowledge you need to get going!
The Big Three

Starting Well

lift 1 color

I remember my Sophomore year of college at UC when all I was chasing in the gym was the highest number I could add by 45. Long story made short, if you would have asked me then to name the most alpha exercise in the gym, I would have instinctively loaded up the bar for some bench press. Yeah buddy!

One day, my lifting buddy took his first step in the uphill battle of teaching me the clean. And I imagine it looking really, really bad. Nonetheless, Dustin kept encouraging me and told me to think of this lift like manhandling somebody. Well that idea really stuck with me as I began to learn more about the sport of weightlifting many years later. Ask me now, and I can make a biased argument in favor of the snatch as the most alpha of them all.

Why the snatch? What starts off to appear as a wide-gripped deadlift quickly escalates to directly overhead at the bottom of a squat, and then standing it up. If you’ve never attempted an overhead squat before, go try it with just a piece of PVC pipe. And maybe you’ll get an idea of the coordination needed before strength is even a factor. Put simply, the snatch requires the most speed through the biggest range of motion. And I love it!

More specifically, I appreciate the snatch because learning principles about moving weight better can help me move through life better. Last week, I only practiced a consistent start position to lift from. Because my movement became consistent, it became easier to adjust my timing of other movements and resulted in keeping the bar closer.

After a few reps, I saw how this could draw a parallel on the importance of how I start each day. Just as I choose to take time for a routine to set my shoulders tight before each lift, I prioritize starting my day with a consistent routine to give me more momentum throughout the day. Doing things like reading a daily devotional and spending a few minutes in prayer can help me stay in a better rhythm throughout the day. A healthy bowl of oatmeal for breakfast always puts a smile on my face, too. I even put the water on the stove before I read. This way boiling water is immediately ready by the time I add everything in a bowl. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s free momentum to start the day.

Now, I challenge you to spend some time thinking about what you could do well at the beginning of each day to see more success. Consider even small things like drinking a glass of water, or rinsing your face off. There is great power that comes from intentionally creating healthy decisions.

Starting Well

I’m Just Not Motivated

IMG_1224“I’m just not motivated” is probably one of the most common phrases we hear as personal trainers. There is this myth that we should always feel motivated, and if we aren’t feeling “motivated” that it’s an adequate excuse to not do something. I’m here to tell you that motivation isn’t the key to success in the gym, or in life for that matter.

 

The definition of motivation is: desire to do; interest or drive. Can you recall a time when you were on fire for something? A time where you felt unstoppable in reaching a goal you had set? A time you felt like you could take on the world? That is a feeling of motivation. And sadly, that feeling is not constant. One day we can wake up with all the motivation in the world, and the next we can wake up and feel as though just getting out of bed is the hardest task you have ever faced. This can be so frustrating! Often people start their fitness journey with so much momentum and so much motivation. However, this feeling will fade, they will skip a workout here and there, start eating like they used to, and start to “fall of the wagon”. When they are asked “what’s going on?”…their response is often “I’m just not motivated”. This is defeating and this can cause us to fall into vicious cycles of on-again and off-again dieting and exercise.

 

The best way to combat this is to be honest with yourself. You will NOT always feel motivated. Recognize these feelings and realize that it’s human. However, don’t use this as your out. It’s not motivation that you need, it’s dedication.  The definition of dedication is:  being committed to a task or purpose. The act of being dedicated to something leaves feelings out of it. No matter how you feel, you will still do the task at hand if you are dedicated to it. This is the actual key to success: dedication. Don’t let yourself fall victim to being “unmotivated.” Remember why you started and remain committed to getting the job done. Suck it up even when you don’t want to, it will be worth it.  

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They Are My Reason, Not My Excuse

DryTri 19

Let me start by saying, I am NOT super mom and I do not have all the answers.  What I do have is a will power that is sometimes too strong for my own good. When I set my mind to do something, it is getting done.

 

So when I started getting serious about my fitness goals, nothing….not even being a mom of 3 kids with 3 crazy schedules was going become an excuse in reaching my goals.   In fact, those 3 kiddos quickly started becoming the very reason I was working out, not my stumbling block.

 

I can more than empathize with those parents wearing a multitude of hats in one day, juggling a full time job, being a wife (of a firefighter at that) and being so tired you’re not quite sure what day it is.  I have been there, and I am still there.

 

In all of the chaos, I still have fitness goals.  I schedule my workouts and I don’t compromise. Sure, sometimes I have to be flexible and adjust my workout schedule around ball games and school activities but I still make it happen.  I chose to not cancel on myself because I know when I take 1 hour and hit the gym, 5-6 times a week, I can better serve my family. Trust me, my kids don’t miss me for that hour. In fact, they are often working out right next to me!  I cannot be a good wife and mom, when I am running on fumes. Working out recenters my mind and pumps up my endorphins. Heard of happy wife, happy life? Mmmm Hmmm, it’s up to you dear, to create that happiness within yourself.

 

While the gym is great for me physically and mentally, I’ll be honest, my greatest motivation for pursuing fitness is for family.  My kids are my motivation, because childhood obesity is on the rise. I don’t have to give you a statistic to prove this. I mean, 79% of statistics are made up any way.   Just look around!! Everywhere you turn, kids are moving less and eating more. Netflix and Fortnite are trumping bike rides and outside play.

 

If I am working out.  If I am outside playing; running, riding my bike, walking the dog.  If I am fueling my body well. If I am making healthy choices then maybe, just maybe I am instilling healthy values into my children and they will follow in mom’s footsteps.

 

Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older, they will not leave it.  Proverbs 22:6

 

My prayer is for them to develop a healthy relationship with food and their body!

 

I didn’t grow up viewing my body as healthy.  In fact, I hated it. I carried “baby fat” into high school.  Okay, I don’t know if it was baby fat, but in an effort to look like the other size 00 girls, I would skip meals….for days.  I would cry if I ate. I always felt like I was being judged when I did eat, and I would often eat in secret. I was “dieting” by the time I was 13 years old.  This mental abuse I put myself through, carried well into my adulthood. I eventually overcame these lies, but I am not ignorant to think my own children will not be susceptible to the same lies.  Afterall, we live in a society saturated with vanity! Society says we must workout to look “sexy”; to have 6-pack abs and Beyonce booties.

 

That’s all crap.  Every bit of it. Jesus didn’t die for my mind, body and soul so that I could chase after the surface level garbage of this world.   He died so that we might live.

 

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
2 Cor 5:15

 

It’s time to live!  My children are my motivator.  I pray I am modeling a healthy lifestyle worth imitating.  Never would I want my kids to see a woman that abuses her mind and body by trying to outwork a bad diet or directly correlating my self worth to the number on the scale.

 

I don’t know what obstacles are standing in the way of you and a healthy lifestyle, but if you think it is your kids, please think again.  Yikes, did I say that? Yeah… I said it. Your children should be your #1 motivator, not your #1 excuse. Those little eyes are looking at you and they will do whatever you do.  Live a life worthy of imitation.

 

I am strong, I am able.
….and you are too.

They Are My Reason, Not My Excuse

Let’s Get Healthy

 

Let’s play a game.

What do all of the following promise?

Paleo, Low-carb, Keto, Jenny Craig, and the Simply Fit Board.

You guessed it….the next secret to YOUR dream body. Or so they claim. Do you ever wonder if people stood a chance at being healthy before we had the aid of all these products, or short-term diets?

I do. And in my biased opinion, I’m willing to bet that it didn’t take a pyramid scheme for people to achieve a sufficient level of fitness. Education (or absence of some product) is often not the problem. The problem is the action! CONSISTENT ACTION!!!

At 413 Fitness, we are advocates of something a little bit old school.

We call it KISS Nutrition. Keep It Simple Stupid. All too often, people ask us about going “low-carb,” or about The Whole 30. They are overwhelmed with questions from what foods are allowed, to “How many grams of protein should I consume per pound of lean body mass?”

Really guys? I am really into being healthy and those things drag me down just thinking about them. Even worse, I am convinced that this has caused a very negative relationship with food and how we interact with it. From the amount in which we consume to even the way we talk about it. Some of you avoid certain foods like I would try to dodge the black plague.

The very first and single-most important thing we urge EVERY SINGLE PERSON to do is start drinking more water! If you’ve been looking for a miracle drug, this is it!! Water. And lots of it! Your body will thank you for years to come just for remaining hydrated 24/7. We train several urologists and even those guys don’t drink enough water. Come on guys! Get it together!!!! Water is God’s gift to Earth. It is usually free most places and contains zero added ingredients. So whether you are looking to save money, feel better, or even aid your digestion…

DRINK MORE WATER.

Okay, on to what you really want to know about. Food.

We challenge you to consider food as fuel for your body. God created all things perfectly and I don’t consider it wise to deprive our body of any macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs)necessary for optimal bodily functions (clarity in thought, level of energy, strength, alertness, etc). The first number anybody should concern themselves with is their “Caloric Intake.” Track your calories and activity by using an app like My Fitness Pal. And then…..Keep It Simple Stupid!

If you want to gain weight, eat more calories than you burn in one day. If you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories than the amount you burn. And if you are absolutely a die-hard “by the numbers” person, then here is the next number you can think about.

One (1) pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories. I’ll even do the math for you. Losing one pound a week can be done by being in a calorie deficit of 500 calories every day. Boom.

At the end of the day, most people aren’t going to be impressed by these fancy statistics and facts. And most people probably haven’t even read this far. But it really is simple to start living healthier.

Drink more water and be aware of how much fuel your body needs.

Let’s Get Healthy

Strength Training For The Endurance Athlete

Triathlete

“Train to survive the training”

At 413 Fitness, our endurance athletes train to become stronger, yes; but, really our main objective is to simply make it to the starting line. It’s been reported that anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of people training for an Ironman will face an overuse injury each season, depending on who you ask. No matter what the exact percentage is, it seems to be extremely high and should be avoided. The good news is, we have some basic training principles that can help you prepare for all aspects of your training: from the warm-up, to time spent in the gym, and even your recovery. The following will guide you to a healthy race season.

 

First things first. The warm-up! It is common for many people (not just endurance athletes) to avoid doing any kind of warm-up. And no, doing ten minutes of “light” cardio on an elliptical just doesn’t suffice. We LOVE the dynamic flexibility routine to prepare the body before ANY and ALL workouts. Whether it is a swim in the pool, a 5 mile run, or a strength session in the gym, this routine will leave you warm and sweaty by the time you finish. This warm-up is different than traditional stretching because it is done while standing and while moving in multiple directions. An important philosophy we incorporate is to train while standing. This is great for everybody because a couple things happen from the standing position versus seated strength based exercises. We become stronger from the ground up; this means all of our smaller, accessory muscles strengthen our ankles, knees, and hips. Additionally, we only move through ranges of motion that we can stabilize compared to the traditional “sit and reach” to stretch the hamstrings through an exaggerated range of motion that we will never get into while running, cycling, swimming, etc. Download our sample dynamic flexibility routine here.

 

Next, we will dive into the movement mechanics of a sound training program. There are a hundred and one different recommendations on how to periodize your training regiment from reps, sets, recovery time, etc. This is not that article (I’ll leave that to your coach; if you don’t have a coach, go check out Mike Hermanson). In this, I want to educate you on movement mechanics to improve your efficiency and get the most bang for your buck while hitting the gym.

 

Before throwing a bunch of exercises at you, I think it would be more valuable to educate you on WHY we pick certain movements opposed to others. Our training philosophy is to “lengthen the front, and strengthen the back.” As an athlete, we should focus on posterior-dominant strength exercises to build our muscles that provide the horsepower! Our big three movers I am referring to here are the hamstrings, glutes, and lats. These are the muscles that are responsible for propelling us forward; from hip extension while running, to a strong pull in the pool. Above all else, we want to emphasize compound movements (sometimes referred to as multi-joint exercises) that are loaded unilaterally. This means that one arm or leg is working independently of the other. An example of this could be any lunge variation, or a squat with a one arm dumbbell press. Unilaterally loaded exercises are great because they challenge the core to stabilize our range of motion compared to bilateral exercises in which both arms or legs are doing the same movement at the same time.

 

Leading into training the core, we need to come to an agreement on what the core does and how it is loaded while performing. In short, it primarily is responsible for stabilizing the spine and transferring force between the upper and lower parts of the body. (For a slightly more in depth explanation of core strength, read here.) Having said that, our primary core strength exercises do not involve crunches or Russian twist variations. Our basic core stiffness exercises revolve around deadbugs and anti-rotational presses. Learning how to stiffen the core will help significantly in maintaining a forward lean during your run and improving your streamline position in the water.

 

Finally, we come to the nitty gritty of training and talk about the two small things that will really make the difference in your training season.

 

I call it the poor man’s massage therapist, others call it self myofascial release. Drum roll please…ladies and gentleman, I present to you the foam roller! It only takes 5 – 10 minutes a day and provides a laundry list of benefits from: increasing blood flow to muscles, connective tissues, and nerves, to restoring proper length (as some call it removing the “knots” in your muscles). It is really common for most people to hold a lot of tightness in their hips, so spending some time on the roller can help alleviate hip and back pain, as well as alleviate knee pain often caused by IT Band Syndrome. For a quick demo on how to foam roll your lower body, click here.

 

Last, but certainly not least, I want to leave you with the best advice for everybody to adopt. HYDRATE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! Drinking plenty of water throughout the day (everyday) will improve your recovery, give you more energy, improve your digestion, allow you to think more clearly…the list goes on. If you are a serious endurance athlete, you have probably been informed on the importance of proper hydration. Without getting in depth on calculating the number of ounces per pound, multiplied by your activity level, and dividing by age….just drink plenty of water. How much? A gallon. And carry a gallon with you. Having a clear visual like this is the single best method to maintaining your hydration and monitoring how much you’ve drank without keeping some sort of tally.

 

For your convenience, below is a basic total body program for you to adopt in your training. The following program should take less than a half hour to complete from starting with the foam roller to finishing your strength circuit.

 

Foam Roll: 5 – 10 minutes

Dynamic Flexibility: 5 minutes

Core Activation: x 2 rounds
Deadbugs x 10
Glute Bridges x 10
Side Planks x 30 sec/side

5 rounds for time:
Alternating Reverse Lunges x 14
Standing One Arm Cable Press x 10e.
TRX Row x 15

 

For more information on how you can become a better athlete, feel free to reach out to me via email at blake@413fitness.net or by calling (812)989-4776.

 

Strength Training For The Endurance Athlete